Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi Review by Ryan Porter
An even longer time ago, in that galaxy far, far away…
In an attempt to reveal the mysteries of the Force and the origins of the Jedi Order the new Star Wars series, Dawn of the Jedi, will expand the Star Wars timeline back 36,000 years to a time when there were no Jedi, no lightsabers and Tatooine was a lush, plant-covered paradise.
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It was at this ancient era that eight pyramidal ships spread across the galaxy rounding up any and all that could ‘hear the call’ to be brought to the center of the Deep Core of the galaxy to be trained and educated in the ways of the Force. Their numbers and knowledge flourished throughout the system as the Je’Daii sought to preserve the balance between the light and the dark, for one cannot flourish without the other.
But when the secrets of the Je’Daii are released into the rest of the galaxy, and their seclusion shattered, how will the Je’Daii, and the balance of the Force, react?
Despite the recent quality of Star Wars titles currently being released by Dark Horse Comics, this series initially filled me with more terror than excitement. The origins of the Jedi and the mysteries of the Force are perhaps stories best left untold. Or, if they are to be told then I don’t believe anyone other than George Lucas should be the one telling them. (Go ahead, make your midi-chlorian jokes, I’ll wait.) But it seems to me that these are important topics in the Star Wars Universe. If this story is going to be told, then it should matter and not simply be dismissed as another random story of the Expanded Universe. But with or without George’s guiding hand Dawn of the Jedi is here, so let’s talk about it.
The first thing readers will notice upon reading the issue is that the Je’Daii are an absolute combination of what fans now know to be the Jedi and the Sith. The Je’Daii believe in the balance of dark and light and that all emotions are to be embraced and utilized as necessary. Fans of the Expanded Universe will also quickly notice that the Je’Daii Code is an amalgamation of both the Jedi and Sith Oaths.
I was very excited to see that Dawn of the Jedi was able to create and retain the sensation that these events are occurring a long time ago. There are still flying ships, blasters and interplanetary travel but with an emphasis on the more fantasy specific elements, such as Temples, Temple Masters and swords, not lightsabers, the ancient sensation of the series is captured rather well.
However one constant across any era of Star Wars are, obviously, the wars. The Infinite Empire has become aware of the Force and by using individuals known only as Force Hounds the Infinite Empire has targeted the Je’Daii and their system within the Deep Core as their next great conquest.
There is a considerable amount of exposition throughout the issue, especially in the beginning, but considering this is a brand new era and concept within the Star Wars Universe it’s more than understandable. And despite the amount of new information required the issue delivers it in an entertaining and fast paced fashion preventing readers from ever getting bogged down in a droll history lesson.
For all my concerns regarding the nature of the Force and the history of the Jedi Order without George Lucas’ guiding hand I was quickly drawn into this ancient Star Wars era. The Je’Daii and their culture are completely fascinating as is the brief introduction to the Infinite Empire and the mysterious Force Hounds. Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi is a bold new direction for the epic and ever expanding saga that is Star Wars. My trepidations regarding the validation of this subject matter and who is presenting it have been swept away in an engaging and impressive debut issue. And isn’t getting swept away in an entertaining story what Star Wars is all about?
Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi #1 will be available Wednesday, February 15th for $3.50.
Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi #0, which explains anything and everything about this era and the Je’Daii, is currently available.